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UN human rights adviser to explore sustainable development, implications for Africa

Mon, 02/29/2016

LAWRENCE — A Nigerian scholar and chairperson of the United Nations Human Rights Council Advisory Committee will discuss sustainable development and its implications during the 2016 Diplomat’s Forum next week at the University of Kansas School of Law. Obiora Chinedu Okafor

Obiora Chinedu Okafor, professor & York Research Chair in International and Transnational Legal Studies at York University’s Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto, Canada, will present “International Legal Accountability and the Right to Development: An African Perspective” at 4 p.m. Monday, March 7, in 107 Green Hall. The lecture is free and open to the public. A reception will follow the event.

“The right to development is poised to take center stage in the international human rights agenda,” Okafor said. “This raises a number of important questions. What are the socio-political and economic factors which have shaped policy and action? What kind of accountability mechanism, if any, has been instituted? What is the role of law? The presentation examines these and related questions from a broad African perspective.”

Okafor has published extensively in the fields of international human rights law and immigration/refugee law. He is the author of three books: “The African Human Rights System, Activist Forces, and International Institutions”; “Legitimizing Human Rights NGOs: Lessons from Nigeria”; and “Re-Defining Legitimate Statehood.” Okafor has served as an SSRC-MacArthur Foundation Visiting Scholar at Harvard Law School’s Human Rights Program, a Canada-US Fulbright Scholar at MIT and as a visiting professor at universities in France, Uganda and Nigeria. He holds law degrees from the University of Nigeria and an LL.M. and doctorate from the University of British Columbia.

Okafor currently serves as chairperson of the United Nations Human Rights Council Advisory Committee. He has also served as an expert panelist for the United Nations Security Council’s Counter-Terrorism Committee and United Nations Working Group on People of African Descent. He has consulted for a variety of international organizations, governments and law firms.

The Diplomat’s Forum is the law school’s most prestigious annual international and comparative law event. Its aim is to provide a platform for an open sharing of thoughts on international law and relations and the United States through the perspective of a professional with notable diplomatic experience in the service of a foreign government.

Past speakers have included:

  • General counsel and legal director of the International Monetary Fund
  • Managing director of TA Trade Advisory Group
  • China’s deputy permanent representative to the United Nations
  • Saudi Arabia’s deputy minister of commerce and industry and chief World Trade Organization technical negotiator
  • Consul general of Japan
  • Consul general of Austria
  • Economic counselor of the Royal Dutch Embassy.


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